Mini-Sabbatical Month!

Mini-Sabbatical Month!

Several years ago, fellow piano teacher and performer Christina Cuda Robertson took 6 months off of teaching for what she called her sabbatical. During this time, she maintained a tremendously reduced teaching schedule, where students only scheduled lessons every two weeks or so if and only if they had completely prepared everything assigned from the previous lesson.

Within her sabbatical, Christina learned new music, attended workshops, and focussed on personal musical growth. I remember feeling quite envious of her ability to plan ahead for such a valuable experience, and I was quite confident that I would never be able to make room for a personal sabbatical as long as I still had children to feed and educate.

Practicing Functional Harmony with Dice

Practicing Functional Harmony with Dice

I have been experimenting with ways to give my students a more thorough understanding of functional harmony.  The deeper the student’s understanding of harmony , the easier it is to learn and memorize music.  Even something as simple as knowing that a V chord usually moves to I can help a student remember what harmony follows, identify new tonal areas, and understand phrase structure.

My newest experiment involves using dice to have students construct viable harmonic motion and then play it on the piano. So far, I’ve just started playing with the concept with my students who have a more advanced understanding of harmony, but I’m excited enough about the possibilities with all my students to write about this now.